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Tigers: Feeding on Plastics in Jim Corbett National Park

Hindustan newspaper (Hindi), on the basis of photographs from wildlife photographer Chitransh Sharma, has reported that tigress and cubs were feeding upon plastics floating in Ramganga river flowing through the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttrakhand.

Plastics are non-biodegradable products, generally used for packaging of edible as well as non-edible products. Plastics have a deep-rooted impact in our lifestyle, for example, some common products which are dry enough to be stored in paper packets are marketed in plastics packaging. These non-essential use of plastics are really a serious threat to our mother earth.

In this case, tigress and cubs pounced on plastics as if it was some small animal, is a serious concern. Once they feed on these small plastics, they move down through their alimentary canal and sometimes it is so small that it may not be excreted with faecal matter. In the long run with continuous feeding on these small demons, will choke the system and may prove lethal.

How Plastics makes its way to Corbett National Park?

The entry of plastics (single-use) are restricted in almost all the eco-sensitive areas in India, similarly, it is also banned in Corbett National Park. So, any entry of plastic through checkpoints (if the rule was strictly followed) is not possible. Again the question remains the same. Plastics are very light in weight, easily available, very mobile and available in varying sizes and thickness. There are rivers, drains and other means of transport such as roads, trails etc which cannot be monitored for tiny single-use plastics. Birds and other stray animals such as dogs, cats, jackals etc carry these plastics from waste disposal sites while searching for food. When we consider this case, plastics were carried in through the water channel.

Time has come to rethink upon the use of plastics in the modern pattern of marketing and in our lifestyle.

Tigers are eating plastics in Corbett National Park
Image Source: Hindustan e-paper, Mirzapur edition, 06-02-2020


Sudhanshu Kumar

Sudhanshu has completed his M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences (Environmental Technology) from Banaras Hindu University and is currently working as Programme Officer (Environment & Wildlife) with Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation, Mirzapur.


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